Monday, 6 June 2016

Adventures in colouring: I get by with a little help from my friends

As mentioned in earlier posts, The Bolt was an experiment in digital comic making. Not only was it a big learning curve producing an entire comic digitally I decided the Bolt would be colour. As I was drawing my comics for years, it never occurred to me that I may need to colour my comics. The Aussie comics I read growing up were all black and white (with 1 or 2 exceptions that cost a lot more to buy) and I liked black and white art work. I've often said your imagination colours the page anyway. I look at the colour versions of Bone (which I collected in black and white) and felt the art was made for black and white not colour. The colour revealed "flaws" that you didn't notice earlier, such as unfinished backgrounds to ensure the characters remain prominent in the foreground.
Besides, I naively thought a colourist would arrive out of the ether to do that dirty work. Pffft. Yeah right. Ah but that's the beauty of actually printing your comics and no longer dreaming of "the day". Printing The Adventurers 1- 4, it became clear that a solely black and white comic had it's work cut out to compete with others. In fact the primary critique I got from people was "Are you gonna colour it?"
As my formative years were influenced by classic Aussie Black and white comics I can say that colour theory/appreciation is a whole new paradigm of seemingly endless combinations.  Thanks to Cara (and her endless patience to my constant requests for tips and feedback) and online tutorials I was starting to get some of the basics down. But what about special effects? I couldn't find any way to make The bolts sparks have that glow that I know was part and parcel of modern comic colouring.
I had started this on Manga Studio 5 and was determined to only have to use the one program to create my comics. However, tutorials on using Manga Studio 5 are far fewer than on using photo shop. 

I was getting desperate. I put the call out to Mike Perry a fellow comic maker I follow on Twitter.  Thankfully, Mike Perry answered the call. He emailed me a tutorial he made to just show me how to give objects a glow! I still am in awe that he would go to that effort to help. Mike has been at this comic game for a while and I have always enjoyed his art. He is great at drawing comedy and never fails to make me chuckle. In fact I tried to channel my "inner Mike" for a panel in the Bolt. Mike's latest Mario inspired project can be enjoyed here: